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Competitive Rowers News Section - 2005/6
Molesey regatta - July 15th
Reigning world champion races Ardingly at final squad regatta of the season
We sent a large group to our final squad regatta of the season, with the normal suspects being bolstered by a few additions from the junior ranks and students back for the summer.

David and Alex had expressed a wish to test themselves by entering a higher status and so entered senior 2 doubles (even though they are still senior 3). We could not have imagined quite how their desire for higher level competition would come true. The draw showed them against a Molesey double containing two ex-Henley winners, but as they were boating it became apparent that Molesey had substituted one of the double. The replacement was none other than Andy Hodge, strokeman of the GB world champion coxless four only recently back from winning this years world cup in Lucerne Switzerland. (Molesey had clearly heard about Ardingly's top double and realised that their very best oarsmen would be required!).

The original race plan, to test their fitness in the second half, now looked a little redundant. Also on the middlesex station we would be starting 3/4 a length behind to take account of the bend at halfway. Undaunted by the task ahead Alex and David got away to a good start and after 30 seconds had closed the gap to 1/2 a length. The distance stayed at half a length until 1 minute with both doubles on the same rating, before Hodge's powerful long strokes started to tell. in the second half Molesey continued to move away but only gradually to eventually win by 4 lengths (the verdict was easily, but the spectators felt this was a little bit of hometown generosity from the judges).

The novice double scull of David Avery and Pete in a big field of 8 doubles had also drawn Molesey in the first round. Starting up on the outside Molesey had pulled back the stagger when Ardingly caught a "boat-stopper". Pulling themselves back together Ardingly were sculling strongly and Molesey with a two length lead were being pushed along. Ardingly closed a little at the end as the final verdict of 1 3/4 lengths shows. Without the error early on this would have been a great race and Molesey went on to win the event comfortably, without being pushed again.

David Law had earlier lost his heat in senior 3 singles, whilst in the same event Andrew Delaney won his first race comfortably before losing the semi to the eventual winner, Weeks of Molesey. Our two entries in novice singles gained good experience with Tom Bell and Andy Duffy both losing to the same sculler from Christchurch, Andy having won his opening heat. Slavo in Veteran D single sculls won his first heat from a Molesey sculler quite uneventfully! The semi however, had the sort of drama we expect from Slavo in a single. Holding on to the Poplar sculler's fast start and with a half length advantage Slavo, despite being warned twice, kept steering over until his opponent sculled into a tree. The umpire quite correctly disqualified Slavo. The veteran novice singles saw both Pete and John win their heats, Pete coming from behind to win a close race. This put them in the same semi final where John's strength paid off into the headwind, to come home 3 lengths ahead. In the final John couldn't hold his opponents fast start, but was sculling well and kept his opponent working flat out right to the finish, where the verdict was 3 lengths.

So after a long day's racing, was this to be our first weekend without a win? The last chance was the senior 3 double of Jon and Paul. They had been our first winners of the regatta season back in April, when they won novice doubles at Hammersmith. The semi-final against Eton Excelsior was quite comfortable but Christchurch in the other semi had gone 9 seconds faster. Thus we knew they would have to really pull out all the stops in the final. Starting up on the outside, Ardingly just held a small lead going into the bend. Here Christchurch pushed through to take a half length lead with only about 45 strokes to go. At this point Paul and Jon put in a big push and started coming back, but they were rapidly running out of course. All those "17 minute" pieces paid off as they carried on moving through to take the lead with 20 strokes left, eventually winning a great struggle by 1 length.

This was the squads 20th win of the season far outstripping last years haul of 6 and exceeding all the targets set by Mostyn. The next day training was replaced by an end of season BBQ and whilst we lazed around Rob Holliday was retaining his national title in adaptive singles to take the clubs 27th win in total.

This just leaves the junior squad (with a bit of help from the vets, including David Phillips return to racing after his long injury) to win some pots next week at Burway.
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Henley Veterans regatta Saturday 8th July and Kingston Sunday 9th July
Vet D's complete the 'double'
The veteran squad's aim for the year was to enter Nat Vets and Henley Vets and be competitive.

The Veteran C double of David Avery and Jon Carter, like at the Nationals were entered to gain experience. Their first round opponents, having lost to two Ardingly doubles at Richmond, scratched putting them straight into the semi against a very fast composite double. With very little time in Keith's boat before the regatta, they found the headwind difficult to cope with and didnt have the best of races. However they still held their very fast opponents to 3 and a half lengths, and managed to steer straight down the tricky boomed course.

For the Veteran D double of Slavo and Keith, having won the National veterans title, the pressure was now on to win both titles. The draw looked promising, with our two fastest rival doubles from the nationals not entering and 3 unknown doubles joining Merchants 98. In the one Friday race Marlow had beaten Merchants 98 and thus were Keith and Slavo's opposition. In the headwind Ardingly led all the way, and were not pushed in the second half to win by 3 to 4 lengths. This was Slavo's first time down the Henley boomed course and a first Henley vets race win for both scullers. The second semi didnt look as fast to Mostyn, but the official time's said otherwise, with Mortlake Anglian and Alpha recording a time 1 second faster than Ardingly.

Five hours later, with the headwind even stronger, Keith and Slavo lined up for the final. Despite a couple of warnings early on from the umpire about Slavo's steering, Keith took them off hard and into a quick lead. Before the barrier Ardingly were in control and were able to enjoy the long slog into the headwind to claim the win, by an easily verdict.

The very attractive medals were awarded straight after the race, before paddling back to the boating area and the small band of Ardingly supporters. Thus 4 weeks after winning at Nottingham they now held the Nationals/Henley double.

Although strictly part of the club junior section, Tom Bloomfield has been training with us at the weekends. Whilst the Veterans were up at Henley he was winning Senior 4 single sculls at Kingston Amateur regatta and then combining with Mike Bailey to also win Junior 16 double sculls.

The rest of the clubs junior section was due to race a Kingston Borough on the Sunday and some of the veteran squad had decided to join them, and were keen to add to the weekend's total of three wins.

David and Jon back racing in the Janousek were determined to improve on Saturday and show their true ability. Racing an experienced Tideway Scullers veteran D double over the short 500m course, they did just that. Giving TSS 4 seconds start on the age handicap, they closed up all the way but couldnt quite force their way past. However despite the narrow loss they were much happier with their performance.

Slavo was racing in Veteran D single sculls and following his win the previous day felt quite relaxed. This approach certainly worked as he claimed his first ever regatta win in a single and the club's fourth win of the weekend.

With just one more squad regatta to go, next week at Molesey, the men's squad has now won 19 times this season (compared to 6 wins last season).
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Richmond regatta 24th June
4 wins at a Thames regatta for second time this year
At Walton (3 weeks previously) we had won 4 times, but one win was a row over and another Ardingly A vs Ardingly B. At Richmond regatta we surpassed this feat by winning 4 events, with all the wins being contested by opposition from other clubs.

The team sent had only 5 men, but everybody returned with at least one winners tankard.

Alex and David raced in senior 2 and senior 3 doubles, winning both by good margins. In Senior 2 they beat Bedford RC by 4 lengths by making sure their opposition never saw them off the staggered start. Senior 3 required two races to win against Twickenham and Walbrook, both verdicts ended up as easily.

Keith and Slavo, with Henley Vets looming on the horizon were, concentrating on the double. They beat Wallingford by 5 lengths in the heat and Walbrook easily in the final, to win the veteran C/D event. However in veteran D single sculls they both lost to Ferris of Furnivall, Slavo losing by 3 and half lengths in the heat and Keith by 2 lengths in the final.

The fifth sculler was Jon Carter, racing in senior 3 and veteran B sculls. In his first senior 3 race he passed the Ardingly trailer, at about half way, on the outside station and nearly 2 lengths down on his opposition. However in the second half of the race, Jon put in a fantastic attack to squeeze home by half a length. In the semi-final he came up against a sculler from Thames who proved to be just too fast, but Jon still raced well. This experience in the morning session set him up for the straight final of Veteran B much later in the day. Against Chan from Furnivall Jon sculling strongly, gradually moved away to a lead of 2 and a half lengths. Coming into the final part of the course, on the outside station and having to cope with several launch washes, Jon began to struggle slightly. At this point the commentator got a bit excited, announcing loudly that the scullers were level, when Jon clearly still had the lead. At the finish Jon held on to win by just half a length (his second win by that margin in one day!).

During the day we passed the squad target of 16 wins for the season, so a great set of results all round.
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National Veteran Championships, Sunday 11th June
Ardingly Veteran D double scull claims national title
For our 5th weekend of racing we entered our veteran squad into the National Veterans Championships, held at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham. We had high hopes of claiming a medal in the Veteran D double sculls with Slavo and Keith. David Avery and Jon Carter who were both racing as novices 7 weeks ago were also entered in Veteran C doubles to gain six lane experience and find out if they could be competitive at this level. As a further chance to gain experience the two doubles were combined into a Veteran C quad scull. The Ardingly team was completed by Tim Bailey and Oliver Brocklehurst (who are only able to train with us occasionally), who would be racing in Veteran D doubles and coxless pairs.

The two Veteran D doubles had to race their heats just after 8am and found the course basking in sunshine with no wind at all. Both doubles were able to cruise their heats giving two Ardingly crews in the six lane final. By the time of the final, the wind had blown up a bit and wasn't favouring the higher numbered lanes. So with our crews drawn in lanes 5 and 6 they knew they would have their work cut out. The expected danger crews were Poplar from the east-end of London and Hollingworth Lake from the north west of England. Keith and Slavo planned to start fast, get their bows out in front and then control the race at a sensible racing rate. Despite the cross head wind they were able to execute this plan perfectly and were never lead. In the last 250m they started to move away again and finally extended their lead over Hollingworth Lake to just over a length. Poplar were further back in 3rd place, 7 seconds behind the winning Ardingly double and just over a length clear of Tim and Oli who were holding 5th place. This just left Slavo and Keith to paddle round to the presentation pontoon to collect their gold medals.

Jon in the Veteran C double sculls final, was racing in a six lane race for the first time. This race started before the head wind blew up and in perfect conditions Ardingly got away to a good start. By 200m they were leading Huntingdon, and in 5th place, but not far behind the 2nd placed crew. Star were clear at the front of the race, but second to fifth place was about one and a half lengths in total. Through the middle of the race the Ardingly double was moving well and gradually forced their way into 4th place. As the sprint for the line developed Peterborough had secured second place and that left three doubles fighting for 3rd to 5th. At the line Ardingly were 4th in a respectable time of 6:44 and could be pleased with how competitive they'd been.

Meanwhile Tim and Oli had also qualified for the veteran D pairs, in a busy mornings work. This race was very similar to the Vet C doubles with the eventual winners always in control and everybody else scrapping for the best placings. Ardingly were always overlapping the second placed crew and as the race went on two of the pairs dropped slightly out of contention giving a 3 way fight for the silver medal. Always under-rating their oponents Tim and Oli looked strong but couldnt raise quite enough sprint speed at the end and finished a very creditable 4th.

This just left the Veteran C quad to race in a three boat final against Tees Rowing club and a three club composite made up of some of the best Veteran C single scullers in the country. After a fast start with all three crews level, Tees started to edge ahead of the composite with Ardingly hanging in there. At half way Tees lead the composite by 3/4 of a length with Ardingly another 1/2 a length behind. Tees continued to slip gradually away but in the last 250m Ardingly started to step the rate up and were moving back at the composite. At the line Tees had won by 2 lengths and the composite held on to second by a rapidly diminishing 8 feet.

A great days racing with all crews showing they were very competitive at this level and a well deserved National title for Keith and Slavo.
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Walton and Weybridge regatta Saturday 3rd June 2006
A great days racing gives 4 wins for Ardingly
We took a squad of 8 to race at Walton and Weybridge regatta after 2 weeks of solid training since Twickenham. With the regatta using bank umpires the water was only disturbed by the passing river traffic, giving our scullers a chance to race in mainly still conditions.

We claimed two good single sculls wins in events with 8 entries, thus requiring 3 races to win overall.

Alex and Jon both raced in Senior 4 sculls. Jon put up a good fight in his heat to lose by 1 length to a sculler from Staines. Losing a length on the start Jon then got into a good rhythm and looked poised to come through when he hit a buoy. Recovering from this he went on to keep his opponent flat out right to the finish. Alex having won his first race was able to gain revenge for Jon by beating the Staines sculler in the semi. In the final Alex didnt get the best of starts but as soon as he hit his rhythm he moved through and away to claim an easily verdict and a well deserved first single sculls victory.

Meanwhile in the Veteran C/D/E singles Slavo won his first race comfortably, whilst Keith getting a handicapped start had to hold off a very fast veteran C sculler from Walton. In the semi final round despite an accident on the way to the start , Keith beat the very experienced Chris Williams from Tideway scullers in a slightly delayed race. After a very even start Keith appeared to have more fitness in the tank and was able to pull away after the first minute. Slavo just lost the other semi going down by half a length in a very close battle with a Guildford sculler. However just like in the senior 4 event Ardingly could gain revenge in the final and Keith proved too fast early on to win a very satisfying pot.

Our other wins were much less satisfactory, but of course they all count. In senior 3 doubles there were only two entries Ardingly A and Ardingly B. The B double of Slavo and Jon decided to throw every thing in to a fast high rating start. This kept them in the hunt early on, but with David Law and Alex leading and looking strong in the A double, Slavo and Jon were always going to pay for it in the second half. The A doubles time of 2:53 was the 4th fastest final, only being beaten by the three eights events. In veteran novice singles, again scheduled for a straight final, John Liebers arrived at 5pm to discover his opponent had tweaked his back racing in open novice singles during the afternoon and was withdrawing. This left John to scull over by himself to claim a nice pint tankard,. Despite a very shakey departure from the stakeboat John got into his stride and was able to get some useful experience of steering down a narrow lane.

The novice double of David Avery and Pete put in their best race to date, but found themselves up against a good schoolboy double from Windsor boys. Windsor were much sharper off the start, but Ardingly were coming back in the middle of the course. However over the relatively short 1000m course Windsor were able to hold them off and then move away again in the last 10 strokes to win by one and a half lengths. Pete had also tried novice singles earlier in the morning and like John gained some useful experience of what is required to race well on a river course.

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Twickenham regatta Saturday 20th May
3rd racing weekend of the season and another win claimed
8 members of the squad braved the strong winds and showers to race at Twickenham regatta and win the squads 5th event of this regatta season. Star billing went to Keith who won the veteran D/E single sculls. Slavo had to do the hard job in the heat of giving the Maidstone vet E sculler 11 seconds lead and then chasing him down, to set up the all Ardingly final. Here Keith's sharpness in the early stages was enough to claim the race and the overall win.

The novice double of David and Pete won their heat against Thames, despite trying to give Thames every advantage known to man! However in the semi-final they faced a high rating double from Haileybury. Passing the Ardingly trailer (at about half-way) dead level and underating the school boys, we thought their prospects looked good, as they pushed into the lead. However with Ardingly on the outside of the bend and having to steer hard, Haileybury were able to slip past to the narrowest of wins. They went on to win the final much more comfortably.

We had two entries in senior 4 singles, Jon Carter lost too much in the middle of the course before storming back to lose by less than a length to a Marlow sculler. Alex gained revenge though, by beating the Marlow sculler with a bit to spare in the semi final. However in the final (having also raced in the double in between singles races), Alex was unable to quite match his much fresher opponent losing by 3 lengths.

The race that was shoe-horned in between the two singles races, was in senior 3 doubles with David Law. This event turned out to be a very high standard and in a good race against Yare RC, Ardingly went down honourably by less than a length. Yare then went on to race but lose to a very good UL double in the final.

Our final competitor had been our first when he raced at 9:15 in the morning. John Liebers was in a big field of 16 scullers in the novice singles event, to get some regatta experience under his belt. He certainly got that with a good win in the heat before losing to the eventual winner in the next round.

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May Bank Holiday Weekend
This was a busy weekend with the squad attending two regatta's, one double racing at Wallingford regatta on the Sunday and a much larger squad to Marlow Spring on the Monday

We decided to send our top double to race in Senior 2 at Wallingford regatta, which is held on the multi-lane course at Dorney. This was always likely to be a high quality field and David Law and Alex are only really Senior 4 status, but we wanted to see how they could measure up in this standard. There were 7 entries so it was run as a straight final. Conditions were flat and fair and from the start Reading shot out into the lead, but as the crews settled into their race rhythms Ardingly had pulled off a good start and led the rest of the field . In the middle 500m everybody tried to attack and Tideway Scullers A gradually overtook Ardingly but nobody else could. In the final 500m Tideway Scullers attacked Reading, to no avail, whilst Ardingly looked in control in third place holding off Tideway Scullers B, Monmouth, Maidenhead and Hampton. The crew and coach were quite encouraged by this result

The next day saw a team of 7 racing in 6 different events at Marlow Spring.

Pete and David Avery expecting to race a two boat heat found themselves lining up against two Marlow crews for a straight 3 boat final in the open novice double sculls. They took the lead before half way and were then able to move steadily away to win by 2 to 3 lengths. A great start to the day with prospects looking good for their second event later in the day

Slavo and Jon had problems with the launch swells and their steering, eventually losing their veteran doubles heat by just half a length to Maidenhead who went on to win the final more comfortably.

In the afternoon session Pete and David Avery won their next race a heat of veteran novice doubles having pulled back a 5 second handicap on their older opponents. However we were amazed to discover that due to the age gap they were expected to start a massive 35 seconds behind their two opponents in the final. Producing their best row of the day they managed to overtake one of the other crews but were still about 4 seconds short of the winners at the finish.

The senior 4 sculls saw two Ardingly scullers drawn in the same heat against opposition from Eton Excelsior. The Eton sculler lead in the first half but David Law, coping much better with the water than Alex, came through to win in the second half. This same measured approach paid off against a Marlow sculler in the final to record our second win of the day

The evening session had Slavo racing in veteran singles and two doubles in the three boat senior 3 final. Slavo raced well (and steered much better than the morning) but couldnt quite match his larger opposition from Wales. The third win of the day came in senior 3 doubles were David Law and Alex combined again to win well from a Walton double. Jon and Paul were another crew to struggle with conditions and thus failed to push Walton as hard as they are capable of for second place.

Three wins was a very satisfactory haul in a long day of racing
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Hammersmith Regatta - 22nd April 2006
A small group of 4 were entered at Hammersmith regatta. A novice double of Jon and Paul, with Jon also doubling up in novice singles, and a veteran double of Slavo and Keith, with both of them also in veteran singles.

Unfortunately the night before Keith, went ill so we had to scratch the veteran double.

Both novice events had 5 entries, so it would take a lot of racing to come away with a win. In the first doubles race Ardingly steadily pulled away from a crew from The American School in London to win comfortably. In the semi-final they met another double from the same school who proved harder to beat, with the crews nearly level for the first 500m, but as the race went on Ardingly took control and moved away to win by about 3 lengths

Before the doubles final Jon had to race in his singles event. He had drawn a very large schoolboy who looked a very good sculler, despite Jon's best efforts he couldn't hold his opponent (who went on to win the final later in the day). The doubles final was against Liverpool University, and like the semi involved a very close tussle in the first half of the course. But again in the second half Ardingly were able to push on and win a good race by about 2 lengths. So the first regatta win of the year and Jon and Paul become senior status scullers.

This left Slavo to race in Veteran singles against a sculler form Putney Town. A great race ensued with Slavo mounting a grandstand finish to come from about 2 lengths behind to just lose by half a length on the line
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March 2006
Keith, Pete, Slavo and Jon raced as a veteran C quad in The Weybridge veterans and junior head on March 12th.

The very experienced Walton quad, who had won vet C at Burway (in the same time as our Senior 4 quad), were again entered and were steering on their home stretch of water. At Burway they had beaten us by 16 seconds, and the aim was to get closer and reduce that difference. Racing in the second division we already knew Walton's time of 11:28 ( and that the course would take about 15% longer than Burway, so the target now became to get within 18 secs).

The quad went over at a consistent 29 all the way, with Keith steering very well through the bendy middle section and finished the last few strokes at just over 31. The crew pushed all the way, and having quickly overtaken a womens eight in front, found themselves in a bit of a vacuum, but at least this made the steering easier.

It looked like a good performance and the crew were pleased. The final time was 11:35 so the difference was cut to 7 seconds ( so relatively 11 seconds improvement.) The final results show 2 junior quads and only ONE veteran eight beating Walton and Ardingly. As a check , two other quads raced at Burway and Weybridge and our quad improved relatively against them by 11 and 22 secs).
In the first division the junior girls (with both of Jon's daughters in the crew) raced a coxed four. Is this the first ever sweep crew to race for the club? They had no opposition in girls coxed fours but gained good experience and beat 6 quads.
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February 2006
With the arrival of the new Janousek quad scull, now christened "The Baltic Exchange", we were able to race our first head as a quad. The Burway Head is split into two divisions giving us the chance to race two crews. Unfortunately we didnt have eight scullers available for that day so somebody would have to race twice. We decided to put out a senior quad and a veteran quad with Jon Carter being in both. In the first division David Law, Jon Carter, Paul Abbott and Alex Dombrowe raced in senior 4 quads. The start was delayed as the strong winds made it difficult to marshal all the crews, but the quad went off well. Settling into a strong rhythm at about 29, much lower than some of the crews in front, they pulled away from the crews around them. In the second half they had to pass some women novice eights who were finding the blustery wind difficult to steer in. Unfortunately when nearly passed one of the eights both crews were hit by a strong gust and ended up entangled. This cost Ardingly at least 5 seconds (very conservative estimate), but the crew recovered and finished the course strongly. We could tell we had beaten the senior 4 quads in division one, but would now have to wait for division 2.

In this second division our veteran C quad of Keith Crawford, Pete Billin, Slavo Radosevic and Jon Carter also raced well with Jon keeping the rate at about 28 all the way. Keith steered well and was able to keep them out of any trouble.

When the results were published we had come 2nd and 10th out of the 97 quads and fours that raced. The senior 4 quad had won their status prize by 52 seconds recording the first win of the year and the first ever win in a quad scull. The veteran C crew had come second to Walton by 16 seconds, but more of that in next months news
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Molesey Regatta
15 Jul 06
Henley Veterans
08 Jul 06
Richmond Regatta
24 Jun 06
National Veterans
11 Jun 06
Walton & Weybridge Regatta
03 Jun 06
Twickenham Regatta
20 May 06
May Bank Holiday Weekend
May Bank Holiday Weekend
Marlow Spring
Hammersmith Regatta
22 Apl 2006
March 06
February 06